Spoken in Galicia (ancient Gallaeci), an autonomous region in
northwestern Spain which is comprised of the provinces of La Coruña, Lugo,
Orense, and Pontevedra; its capital is Santiago.
Galician is a Romance Language, that belongs to the Iberianromance
family of languages. It has common aspects with
(morphology and some vocabulary). In Galicia, Galician and Castilian
are both recognised as official languages.
In the Middle Ages, Galaico-português (or Portuguese-Galician) was a
language of culture, poetry and religion throughout not only Galiza
and Portugal but also Castile (where Castilian was used mainly for
prose). After the separation of Portuguese and Galician, Galician was
considered provincial and was not widely used for literary or academic
purposes until the mid 1800s, and during the Franco regime in Spain it
was heavily repressed. With the advent of democracy, Galician has been
brought into the institutions, and it is now co-official with
A heavily Castilianized version of Galician is taught in schools.
However, for the most part there has been no serious attempt on the
part of the Spanish and Galician institutions to reverse language
assimilation and loss.
The Spanish state recognized Galician as one of Spain's four "official
languages" (lenguas españolas) (the others being Castilian - also
Basque). Though this is viewed by most as
a positive step toward language maintenance, officialness does not
guarantee language transmission among the youngest generations.
Language and cultural activism has to struggle not only against
growing assimilation to Spanish but also against cultural